I’ve been meaning to give mechanics some attention on the blog for a while, and it’s easiest to start with one I know: Mark Leadbetter is a bike mechanic local to my Stirling area, and a club mate. An experienced wrench, he honed his trade at Stewart Wilson Cycles in Stirling (below), which has recently changed hands and is now revamped and trading as Velocity44.
He’s a good wheel builder and mark considers this his own speciality or ‘wizardry’. I’ve spent many years examining factory wheels or those built by other people which would come to me for service or repair… spotting even the most minute mistakes in the build. I think of the many thousands of wheels examined in all that time… I saw only half a dozen or so that I would have been happy to have supplied.
When I wrote this post, Mark didn’t have a website, but you can now reach him at www.markleadbetter.co.uk
Being a mechanic does not come without its hazards though, and although Mark once suffered a near-death experience he can laugh about it now – I once wired myself up to the National Grid and burnt more than a wee bit off the ends of my fingers (a shocking experience). For his sake, I might think twice before asking him to do any welding for me. Mark has a good sense of humour as this and other quotes show.
I’ve found Mark has the ways and means to get even a fused bolt out, and always seems to set things up absolutely perfectly. I’ve come to value having my bike running in tip-top condition over spending my budget on shiny bits like carbon bars or stems. This attention to detail comes from being self-taught and from working under pressure for many years – Mark says he learned how to do things quickly and properly so there were no complaints.
Interesting facts/trivia: I was born (not knitted) in Consett County Durham (a steel town) obviously this is how I got my iron strength.
He was a member of the VC Olympia club, which merged with Stirling Mountain Bike Club in 2000 to form Stirling Bike Club. Mark competes in time trials and achieved a BAR in 2010 – a Best All Rounder competition whereby you must record times at 10, 25 and 50 miles, as well as a 12 hour effort. This won him the SBC Roadie of the Year accolade. He counts his greatest triumph/achievement (“except when I was a proper rider in 1985”)
I asked Mark about his cycling career and 1985/86 was his best season with one TT win and several placings in other TTs. My fondest memories are of riding events @ 8stone 13lbs…full of energy and aggression and wondering why most other riders were riding so slowly!
but Mark doesn’t have a web presence, so I thought a blog post would be good. http://www.markleadbetter.co.uk/